By Phil Blanche, PA
Phil Foden says he is “back to normal” to help Manchester City’s tilt for silverware.
Foden made it three goals in two games with a double in Tuesday’s 3-0 FA Cup fifth-round win at Bristol City following a difficult spell in his career.
The England forward has not been a regular City starter since the World Cup and has had to cope with an ankle injury in recent weeks.
But Foden now has 12 goals for the season and is City’s joint-second top scorer alongside Riyad Mahrez, after Erling Haaland.
“I’m very delighted,” Foden told mancity.com after the Ashton Gate win.
“The last two games I look back to normal and back to myself.
“I’m feeling comfortable in my feet, I had a small injury. Now you can tell I’m back and I’m hungry to help the team as much as possible.”
England midfielder Kalvin Phillips also had an opportunity to impress in the West Country.
Phillips, who underwent shoulder surgery in September, made only his second start following his potential £45million summer move from Leeds and struck the crossbar from range in the second minute.
But the 27-year-old understandably looked rusty at times and boss Pep Guardiola said: “It’s not easy when you don’t play much.
“Immediately, to play in this type of game, it’s not easy for him.
“He played more than well. Of course he needs the rhythm and the contribution, but it was important to give Rodri time (out).
“We need him and we can rely on him and we need him and that’s the most important thing.”
At the very heart of midfield! 💙@Kalvinphillips 👏
🔴 0-3 🐝 #ManCity pic.twitter.com/YGKioUk7E0
— Manchester City (@ManCity) February 28, 2023
City return to Premier League action at home to Newcastle on Saturday challenging on three trophy fronts.
But Guardiola dismissed talk of a potential treble, saying: “Forget about it, when you start to talk about that you start to drop competitions.
“We are not ready for one second to think about that. It’s now just Newcastle. Still we are in three competitions, that is the biggest credit.
“I know we can not drop points in the Premier League and in the Champions League, we will see what will happen in two weeks. But it’s important we are there and we will continue as long as possible.”
Bristol City’s defeat was their first since Boxing Day – a run of 12 games – and boss Nigel Pearson believes the Robins are capable of mounting a play-off push.
They are currently 10 points adrift of sixth-placed Luton in the Championship, with a game in hand.
Pearson said: “We need to make sure we don’t compromise our standards in any game here on in.
“We’ve worked really hard since the turn of the year because we were under pressure to find results.
“People were asking questions of us as a side and obviously me as the manager and that’s something which collectively we’ve had a positive response to.
“We need to see how good we can be between now and the end of the season because there is potential to push for a play-off position.”